This deep water gold coral, collected in Hawaii, has a skeleton made of very dense and degradation-resistant protein. These corals appear to grow very slowly perhaps over several centuries or longer. Similar species occur in the Gulf of Alaska. Since they build their proteinaceous skeleton using nutrition settling from above, we hope to use the chemistry of the protein to learn about past variability in ocean surface waters in the northwestern Pacific. Image courtesy of Exploring Alaska's Seamounts 2002, NOAA/OER.